The Actor Arashi Wakano as a wakashu in a kappa (raincoat)

The Disappearance of Japan’s “Third Gender”

Gender roles in Edo Japan recognized an in-between position for young men, called Wakashu, that was erased as Japan westernized.
A Japanese woman cuts up radishes in her kitchen

The Unlikely Role of Kitchens in Occupied Japan

After World War II, "occupationaries" tried to spread American-style domesticity to Japanese women.
Students of an engineering course in training in Japan, 1915

When Scientific Management Came to Japan

Japanese workers, many of them women, worked up to 17 hours a day in the early 20th century. Yet experts still wondered why they “wasted” time.
A pile of manure for fertilizing crops

A History of Human Waste as Fertilizer

In eighteenth century Japan, human excrement played a vital role in agriculture. Can similar solutions help manage waste today?
Sailor Moon mid transformation

Selling Toys with the Sailor Moon Transformation Sequence

From her nails painted glossy red to the tiara appearing on her forehead, if you time it out, the transformation in Sailor Moon lasts 40 seconds.
A female office worker holding her foot in pain

What Is the #KuToo Movement?

Japanese women are protesting the widespread policy of mandatory high heels at work.
Inside a Foreign Restaurant by Utagawa Yoshikazu, 1860

Restaurants Built Modern Japan’s Identity

In the early 20th century, Japan's embrace of exotic cuisines helped strengthen its connections both to China and to the West.
Asian small-clawed otters

Pssst. Exotic Animals Don’t Make Good Pets

They might be cute, but animals like otters are difficult to take care of. Plus, there are ecological concerns inherent in removing them from the wild.
Marcus Garvey

Black Radicalism’s Complex Relationship with Japanese Empire

Black intellectuals in the U.S.—from W. E. B. Du Bois to Marcus Garvey—had strong and divergent opinions on Japanese Empire.
Japanese elderly prison

When the Elderly Poor Are Left Behind

In Japan, elderly people are committing crimes just so they can go to jail and feel cared for. A similar situation has played out in India, where the elderly have been left out of traditional social support networks.